Your newborn studio environment, or how you approach working in clients’ homes, plays a significant role in the success of your sessions, and your client relationships. In this article, Kelly Brown shares tips for keeping both baby and parents comfortable.
Creating the Perfect Environment for your Newborn sessions…
Understanding babies and being familiar with what makes them comfortable is paramount during a newborn photography session.
Creating a baby-friendly environment in your studio has multiple advantages.
- You should be able to cut down on the duration of each newborn photography session.
- You’ll be able to pose and photograph the baby in his or her most calm, and peaceful state.
Keep in mind that newborn babies have spent the last nine months in the womb. The more you can do to recreate this environment, the happier your little subject will be.
Tips for keeping newborn babies & their parents comfortable:
- Regulate the Temperature in Your Studio
- Turn up the Ambient Sound
- Happy Parents make for a Happy Baby
- Be ‘Baby-led’
- Keep It Simple
- Demonstrate Safety & Respect
Regulate the Temperature In Your Newborn Studio
The temperature inside the womb is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.7 degrees Celsius. So babies tend to be at their most relaxed in a warm room.
I set my studio’s heater to about 80F or 26C which seems to be the most comfortable temperature for newborns. Additionally, this temperature will keep their skin nice and peachy. You will often see blotchy patches on baby’s skin when they become cold.
Turn Up the Ambient Sound
Newborns are inundated with noise during their nine months in gestation. Not only do they hear their mother’s heartbeat, they tune into her blood flow, digestive system, and her voice!
While you don’t want to play loud music during your newborn photo sessions, gentle, ambient sounds in the studio can be advantageous.
In the past, I have used white noise machines (or apps) or a heartbeat monitor to recreate the baby’s time in the womb. But in recent years, I’ve found great success with ambient and relaxation music.
I put together my own playlist which you can find on Spotify. Note, please be sure to research any applicable permits required in your region to play licensed music in your place of business.
Happy Parents Make For a Happy Baby
Chances are your clients are extremely tired from lack of sleep. And don’t forget the stresses that can come with a new addition to their family. Newborns pick up on their parents’ stress levels, so the more relaxed and comfortable you keep mum and dad, the better.
Make parents feel welcome when they arrive at the studio with their baby. Offer them some water, and try to connect with them on a personal level. The calmer the parents are, the calmer the baby will be!
Additionally, the energy that you bring to a space can impact how your clients and their baby respond. In the video below, I share my tips for preparing myself before every session.
It’s vital to remember that every baby is different and will not go into every pose. This should be at the forefront of your actions throughout every session.
Every single baby will have their own comfy spot and at absolutely no point should they be forced into any position.
As newborn photographers, it’s our job to know how to work with babies. We need to understand their behaviour, regardless of whether they are awake, unsettled or sleepy during their session. Having this understanding will help you to work with the baby, taking their lead, as well as provide your clients with the products and service they are paying us for.
Read more about being baby-led in my “How to become a baby whisperer” article.
Demonstrate Safety and Respect
When a baby becomes unsettled their parents become unsettled. Making sure that the parents and family members who are present are enjoying the session is paramount. We need to show respect to not only the parents but the babies as well.
Showing parents that the safety of their baby is the most important aspect of your session will help gain their respect. The parents will feel more comfortable throughout the entire session knowing that their baby is in safe hands.
I’ve created FREE Safety Tips videos which I’d encourage you to watch before working with newborns in your studio or at client homes. You’ll also find our article on “Tips for a Safer Studio Environment” to help you identify potential physical hazards.
Keep it simple
When photographing newborns, it doesn’t have to be complicated. The simplest of images are often the most beautiful and treasured.
In fact, if you take a look at my Transitional Posing gallery, you’ll see how I achieve 20 unique images, simply. Using just a few poses, and transitioning the baby between each with minimal movement, you can create a beautiful gallery for your clients, while keeping the baby settled. Find out more about this workflow here.
It’s All About Them
We must remember that it is a privilege to be asked to photograph these little bundles. And, we should not forget the real reason we are hired – which is to document every little detail of these babies and this incredible time in our clients’ lives, to be remembered forever.
Take some time to assess and revise your studio environment to ensure it is safe, welcoming and comfortable for your clients. Remember that once your clients enter, it’s all about them and recording their story.